Respect @UVA

Welcome to Respect@UVA!

UVA’s Commitment to a Caring Community of Dignity and Respect

We treat every individual with kindness, dignity, and respect, regardless of position or status. UVA cannot realize its bold ambitions for excellence - in teaching, research, public service, and patient care - unless every member of our community embraces these values, and promptly reports misconduct.

We encourage you to promptly report abuse or mistreatment by University personnel, - including workplace bullying. Make reports to appropriate supervisors, unit heads, department managers, deans, or through the incident reporting system. Have full confidence that reports will be treated seriously, investigated promptly and impartially, and without fear of reprisal or retaliation for making a good faith report.

Dealing With Disrespectful Behavior

  • I am being subjected to disrespectful behavior

    What to do if you feel you are being subjected to disrespectful behavior

    Do not ignore it

    • Do not feel that it is your fault or that you have to tolerate it
    • Many people ignore disrespectful behavior for fear of being labeled a troublemaker, but it is unlikely that the conduct will stop if you ignore it
    • The individual is often engaging in this behavior to try to exert control, so silence may be interpreted as acceptance

    Insist that the person stop

    • In some circumstances, you might be able to ask the perpetrator to stop
    • If you wish, take a co-worker, friend, HR professional, or the University Ombuds with you to prevent the person claiming that you did not complain personally, leading them to believe that you did not object
    • You can do this in writing by outlining as clearly as possible what behavior you find offensive and the effect it has on you
    • If you feel unable to directly approach the person concerned, this does not imply that you consent to the behavior or prejudice any complaint you may wish to bring

    Get support and try to resolve the problem informally

    • Talk about the problem with your supervisor, department management, HR professional, Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) consultant, or the University Ombuds
    • Contact someone, even when an incident occurs only once, and they may be able to suggest ways of resolving the problem

    Collect evidence of the behavior

    • Keep a note of all relevant incidents, including dates, times, and places (it will be invaluable in proving your case if you make a complaint)
    • Get witnesses to provide factual evidence
    • If there are no witnesses, tell a colleague, your supervisor, department management, an HR professional, FEAP consultant, or the University Ombuds, and make a note
    • Keep copies of relevant documents, such as emails and other electronic information

    Find out if the same person is disrespecting anyone else

    • Often, the individual will have a history of such behavior
    • You will gain confidence from discovering you are not alone
    • This can be very effective in demonstrating that there are wider issues that need to be addressed and will make your claims more difficult to dispute

    Make a formal complaint

    • If you cannot resolve the problem by asking the person to stop or reporting it to a supervisor, then you should make a formal complaint for investigation
    • Use the Respect@UVA Complaint System

    Get a resolution

    • After bringing the situation to the attention of Human Resources or management, a consultant will contact you to follow up on your complaint
    • Due to the confidential nature of disciplinary action, all of the details may not be shared
    • The focus is on changing your situation and stopping the disrespectful behavior
  • Witnesses of Disrespectful Behavior

    What to do if you witness disrespectful behavior

    You may feel vulnerable if you witness a disrespectful incident, particularly if the person accused of the behavior is a supervisor or manager. It is often difficult to know what to do if the subject appears to be ignoring the behavior. If you need support or advice, approach your HR representative.

    There are several steps you could take if you observe someone being disrespected:

    • Speak to the person who is being disrespected—informally and confidentially—and state what you have observed.

    • Ask if they feel able to discuss the situation. Do not underestimate the effects of the behavior on them, since they may be upset or unable to talk to anyone. Do not press for information.

    • If they wish to discuss the incident, listen sympathetically and take notes (if permitted), as these may be useful at a later stage. Be respectful of the person’s privacy and need for confidentiality.

    • If they are unable to discuss the matter with you, encourage them to talk to someone they trust: a supervisor, department management, HR representative, Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) consultant, or the University Ombuds.

    • Offer to contact the person they choose on their behalf and make arrangements for a meeting, or go with them to the meeting.

    Remember that if a formal complaint is made, you may be called upon to describe what you saw.

  • What To Do If You Are Accused of Disrespectful Behavior

    If you have been told that your behavior makes someone feel uncomfortable, then you should stop and reflect on what you are doing. Even though your behavior may seem innocent to you, it is important to consider its effect on others.

    If you are told that your behavior is disrespectful

    • Listen carefully to the complaint and to the particular concerns expressed.

    • Remember it is the other person’s reaction to your behavior which is important, not your intention or the reaction you think they should have.

    • Stop the behavior and review what you are doing. It may be you have upset other colleagues who have not complained.

    • If you do not understand the complaint, discuss the matter with an HR representative, Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) consultant, the University Ombuds, or someone else you trust.

    • If a formal complaint is filed, cooperate with the investigation by making yourself available and by telling the truth in response to questions.

    • Seek assistance from FEAP if it would be helpful to speak confidentially with a professional counselor.

    • If you are found to have bullied or harassed someone after their objection to your behavior was made known to you, the fact that you persisted will make the offense more serious in disciplinary proceedings.

    If you are convinced that you are being unjustly accused, and/or that the complaint is malicious

    • Contact an HR representative or the University Ombuds. It may be that an informal discussion between you, the person alleging ill-treatment, and a third party will solve the problem.

    • If this does not occur, and it is clear that formal proceedings will ensue, involve your local HR representative.

    • Gather evidence in your defense, including witnesses.

    • Get support. Talk about the problem with a HR representative, FEAP consultant, or the University Ombuds.

Respectful Workplace Guidelines

  • Maintaining a Respectful Workplace

    A fair, collaborative, inclusive, and respectful workplace is a vital prerequisite to the University’s achieving its teaching, research, public service, and patient care goals and preserving its reputation for excellence.

    Therefore, the University embraces the concept of a respectful workplace as a core value and is committed to promoting an environment where employees respect each other regardless of their roles, levels of responsibility, or the nature or extent of their contributions.


    Regardless of role or status, you are responsible for behaving respectfully and refraining from behaviors that violate other relevant University policies. You have a responsibility to

    • recognize when you or others are being subjected to disrespectful behavior
    • address the behavior directly with the person engaging in disrespectful or abusive conduct
    • alert a supervisor or the next person in the chain of command (if a supervisor is the issue) for prompt resolution
    • make a complaint


    In addition to your personal responsibilities as an employee, you have a responsibility to

    • encourage individuals to report instances of disrespectful behavior
    • immediately address all disrespectful behavior once it is reported or observed
    • take the situation seriously and promptly investigate the extent and nature of the problem

    Vice Presidents, Deans, and Unit Heads

    In addition to your personal responsibilities as an employee and supervisor, you bear the primary responsibility for maintaining a workplace environment free from disrespectful behavior. You are expected to act on this responsibility whenever necessary.

    Human Resources

    Among other things, it is your responsibility to

    • provide a system for receiving, addressing, and resolving complaints
    • provide training for employees in interpersonal communication skills, problem solving, conflict resolution, and available resources for addressing difficult situations
    • conduct periodic surveys of employees to continuously evaluate compliance
    • incorporate demonstrated compliance with these guidelines as part of annual employee performance appraisals
    • require vendors and their employees to comply with these guidelines as a condition of doing business with UVA
    • acknowledge and reward employees who demonstrate outstanding commitment to a respectful workplace
  • Examples of Respectful Behavior

    Respectful community members

    • respect and value the contributions of all members of our community, regardless of status or role in the organization
    • treat employees with respect, civility, and courtesy
    • work honestly, effectively, and collegially with employees and others
    • respond promptly, courteously, and appropriately to requests from others for assistance or information
    • use conflict management skills, together with respectful and courteous verbal communication, to effectively manage disagreements among employees
    • encourage and support all employees in developing their individual conflict management skills and talents
    • have an open and cooperative approach in dealings with employees, recognizing and embracing individual differences
    • recognize that differing social and cultural standards may mean that acceptable behavior to some may be perceived as unacceptable or unreasonable to others
    • abide by applicable rules, regulations, policies, and bylaws, and address any dissatisfaction with—or violation of—policies and procedures through appropriate channels
    • demonstrate commitment to continuous personal and professional learning and development
    • demonstrate commitment to a culture where all employees cooperate and collaborate in using best practices to achieve high quality work-related outcomes
    • are responsible stewards of material and human assets to achieve excellence and innovation in the education of our students and care of our patients, and in the creation and sharing of knowledge across all disciplines
    • if they are in leadership positions, model civility for others and clearly define expectations for how employees are to treat each other, and be responsive to complaints when they are brought forward

    Every employee of the University of Virginia has the right to work in a respectful workplace. In order to promote and sustain a workplace where all employees are treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their status or position, each employee is expected to abide by these values and standards of interpersonal behavior, communication, and professionalism.

  • Examples of Disrespectful Behavior

    Consistent with this and other relevant University policies, all employees at the University of Virginia are expected to refrain from disrespectful behavior, such as

    • using threatening or abusive language, profanity, or language that is intended to be or perceived by others to be demeaning, berating, rude, or offensive
    • bullying
    • making threats of violence, retribution, litigation, or financial harm
    • shouting or engaging in speech, conduct, or mannerisms that are reasonably perceived by others to represent intimidation or harassment
    • using racial or ethnic slurs
    • demonstrating racial, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural bias
    • making or telling jokes that are intended to be or reasonably perceived by others to be crude or offensive
    • teasing, name calling, ridiculing, or making someone the subject of pranks or practical jokes
    • using sarcasm or cynicism as a personal attack on others
    • spreading unsubstantiated rumors or gossip
    • making actual or threatening inappropriate physical contact
    • throwing instruments, tools, office equipment, or other items as an expression of anger, criticism, or threat, or in an otherwise disrespectful or abusive manner
    • making comments or engaging in behavior that is untruthful or directed as a personal attack on the professional conduct of others
    • retaliating
    • engaging in any pattern of disruptive behavior or interaction that could interfere with the workplace or adversely impact the quality of services, education, or patient care


Find more resources and information about our commitment to creating a caring community at UVA.

  • Anti-Retaliation, Confidentiality, and Anonymity


    University employees should work without fear or threat of retaliation if they, in good faith (i.e. holding a genuine belief in the truth of one’s allegations) and based on a reasonable belief that improper conduct has occurred, make complaints of improper conduct to University management or in accordance with the Respect@UVA complaint procedure, or if they assist or participate in the complaint process.

    • You may be experiencing retaliation if you oppose workplace misconduct (i.e. you make a formal complaint) and, as a direct result, your employment is penalized or materially altered
    • Even if your complaint is found to be without merit, retaliation can still exist
    • Retaliation against employees making complaints of mistreatment or abuse can damage employee engagement and commitment and seriously undermine the ethical culture of the University
    • Managers with complaints filed against them should never react in anger to such allegations or behave in any way that could be considered retaliatory

    Examples of retaliation

    • employment actions such as termination and denial of promotion
    • unfounded civil or criminal charges that are likely to deter reasonable people from pursuing their rights
    • other actions affecting employment, such as threats, unjustified negative evaluations, or increased surveillance
    • actions designed to interfere with the individual’s prospects for employment, such as giving an unjustified negative job reference, refusing to provide a job reference, or informing an individual’s prospective employer about the individual’s protected activity

    UVA takes allegations of retaliation seriously. Immediately report allegations of retaliation to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) or through the Respect@UVA Complaint System.


    Complaints of disrespect, bullying, or other abuse or mistreatment are handled with discretion by University management, University Human Resources (UHR), Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP), Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR), and other relevant administrative offices.

    Depending on the nature of the complaint, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Sensitive information will only be shared to the extent that it is necessary.

    Anonymous Complaints

    The University cannot typically conduct investigations based on anonymous complaints because there is not enough information to proceed. It is difficult to fully and fairly investigate a complaint, identify witnesses, and follow up with questions when the complainant is not known.

    • The University is committed to safeguarding from retaliation or reprisal all employees willing to come forward
    • If you are reluctant to file a complaint for reasons of personal security, you may make anonymous complaints
      • Use the employee complaint system to print out a paper complaint
      • Report such incidences to supervisors by mail or other method that does not identify you to the recipient of the complaint
      • Anonymous complaints will be logged and accumulated with all other complaints for reporting purposes and to identify trends that may develop over time
  • How to File A Complaint

    We encourage you to speak up if you feel you are being treated disrespectfully. UVA offers many options when seeking assistance, such as your supervisor, department management, HR representative, FEAP consultant, or the University Ombuds. We also have a Respectful Workplace Complaint System.

    Complaint System Workflow

    1. File a complaint

    • For current employees and University community members, please complete the electronic submission form behind NetBadge.
    • For those who wish to remain anonymous, download the pdf Respect @ Complaint Form and deliver via email to You may also download and print the pdf form, and mail to: P.O. Box 400127, Charlottesville VA 22904 Attention: Employee Relations.
      • Please note that anonymous reports may limit the University’s ability to respond effectively. Note that, consistent with University policy, Responsible Employees may not report anonymously.
    • Your complaint information will be submitted to the Respect@UVA Coordinator in HR.

    2. HR receives complaint

    The Respect@UVA Coordinator or designee will review your complaint and contact you within two business days.

    3. Information Gathering

    The Respect@UVA Coordinator or designee will

    • discuss the complaint with you
    • review details
    • gather supporting information

    4. Information Evaluation

    The Respect@UVA Coordinator or designee will send the complaint to the appropriate office for investigation. Only those individuals who need to know will be contacted and provided with sensitive information to the extent necessary to resolve the complaint.

    5. Investigation

    The relevant office will investigate the complaint to conclusion through its internal processes.

    6. Reporting

    The Respect@UVA Coordinator or designee will compile a report with results of the investigation and will send the report to the respective VP/Dean and the Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer. 

    Medical Center reports will be directed to the Vice President and CEO of the Medical Center.

    7. Follow-Up

    The Respect@UVA Coordinator or designee (whoever made first contact with you) will follow up to check in on your situation and ensure that the initial complaint has been resolved.

    Questions? Contact the Respect@UVA Coordinator listed in siderail (i.e., the top righthand corner of this page).

    File A Complaint
  • Tips for Managers

    As a manager, it is your responsibility to maintain a workplace environment free from disrespectful behavior. You are required to

    • behave respectfully, in accordance with University policies
    • serve as a role model of respectful behavior
    • treat seriously all legitimate employee complaints concerning mistreatment or abuse
    • ensure all employees understand that bullying and forms of abuse are not tolerated at UVA
    • take early corrective action to deal with behavior that may be offensive or intimidating

    Ways to Maintain a Respectful Workplace

    Understand Harassment, Retaliation, and Confidentiality

    Review the following pages for definitions, University policy, and other useful information regarding harassment, retaliation, and confidentiality:

    In addition, please note

    • Bullying and other forms of abuse or mistreatment may also constitute illegal harassment
    • You should never take any action that might reasonably be perceived as retaliation against employees who make complaints
    • Maintain confidentiality unless you are made aware of inappropriate behavior; as an agent of the University, you have the responsibility to act
    • Information should only be discussed with those who have a legitimate need to know
    • If you are not sure how to proceed, immediately contact your manager or an HR representative

    Document Misconduct

    Proper documentation is important for case resolution. When you become aware of employee concerns of mistreatment or abuse, document what is happening.

    Documentation of a complaint should be clear and detailed, and you should note events in chronological order.

    Offer Resources

    Familiarize yourself with the Respect@UVA Resources page in the left menu above so you know what is available to employees in stressful situations.

    The Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) (434.243.2643) can assist when an incident has a major impact on an employee’s emotional well-being.

    Take Action

    Informal Solutions

    • Talk about the problem with your supervisor, department management, HR representative, FEAP consultant, or University Ombuds
    • Do not hesitate to contact someone even when an incident occurs only once; they may be able to suggest a resolution

    Disciplinary Actions

    • Learn how to file a complaint
    • The Complaint Reporting System is not designed to replace normal University disciplinary procedures
    • Once an investigation is undertaken and evidence is produced that bullying or other mistreatment has occurred, be prepared to hold the offenders accountable through the Standards of Conduct or relevant faculty procedure

    Lead by Example

    You are expected to be a role model for respectful behavior. Take time to reflect and make sure you are not behaving in a way others may interpret as disrespectful.

    If you are not sure, think about the following questions:

    • Do you think your standards are high and wonder why others do not seem to care as much as you?
    • Is it impossible for you to make your contributions subordinate to those of others?
    • At work, are you excluded from social events?
    • At meetings, are your ideas never met with dissenting views?
    • Is the employee turnover rate in units you supervise higher than elsewhere in the organization?
    • Is absenteeism so high that production is sub-par?
    • Do you see decline in the pool of available talent, so that no new hires seem acceptable?

    You may be able to turn to your staff for feedback on how to improve the situation.

  • Respectful Workplace Initiatives

    Respectful Workplace Initiative

    A respectful workplace is critical for building relationships and increasing commitment and contribution to the work environment. A lack of respect in the workplace can result in adverse reactions and behaviors that make the workplace less enjoyable - even unbearable. This workshop encourages respectful behavior, how to recognize when it’s missing, and how to seek help when you need it. 

    Respectful Workplace 2.0 – A Case Studies Workshop for Managers

    As an advanced version of the Respectful Workplace Initiative, this interactive workshop analyzes case studies to identify concerns, take appropriate actions, and support the University's mission to thrive in a respectful workplace.

  • Request a Training

    Request a Training by sending an email to

  • Respectful Workplace Champions

    UVA would like to recognize individuals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to a respectful workplace through their daily actions or larger initiatives. Those distinguished as champions may do some or all of the following:

    • demonstrate genuine concern and interest in others; carefully consider the impact of actions on others
    • provide information honestly and constructively; create an environment of trust and collaboration
    • provide assistance and support to co-workers without being asked; express gratitude and appreciation for others who provide help
    • show respect for and appreciation of different ideas, experiences, characteristics, perspectives, and backgrounds
    • demonstrate interest in the welfare of colleagues and their community; establish respect, integrity and fairness as a priority

    Share your stories and experiences of exceptional respectful behavior by emailing so that we can officially recognize our Respectful Workplace Champions.

  • Respect@UVA Resources